Most modern couples wholeheartedly embrace the romantic, age-old traditions that have been handed down through generations. Exchanging of rings, being given away by their parents, having a ‘first-dance’: these and many more traditions are still part of the vast majority of weddings in the 21st century.
However, one of the most well-known and emotionally climactic traditions – the groom seeing his bride for the first time as she walks down the aisle – is being replaced by the ‘First Look’ in many modern weddings. Because of different factors relating to photography, transportation, nerves, or overall logistics, it often just makes more sense for the couple to see each other before the ceremony.
Generally set up by the coordinator and photographer, a first look is a private moment where the couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day. On a day where all eyes are on you, a first look provides a chance for some privacy between the couple so that you can spend extra time together savoring the day. And as this usually takes place a few hours before the ceremony, it allows you to get most or all of your couple, bridal party, and even family pictures done before the ceremony even starts – saving tons of time after the ceremony and generally allowing you to join your reception earlier.
A first look is never a replacement for walking down the aisle to your groom, but rather an extension of that perfect moment. While some traditionalists are fans of saving this moment for the ceremony, so many people love a first look for the raw emotion and intimacy that is captured. Photographers love it because it makes their job so much easier…they can control for factors that are usually uncontrollable later during the ceremony: lighting, location, angle of their shot, timing, etc.
First looks also help the overall logistics of the day. I can promise that any wedding planner or photographer secretly loves the first look for the ease that it provides for the rest of the day. After the first look, there is no reason for hiding from each other or using separate transportation. It also always seems to help calm even the most nervous bride or groom as it allows you to be with your best friend before the whirlwind of your ceremony and reception begins.
Ultimately it is important for you to do whatever you feel works best for your unique situation that also suits both of your personalities as well as the vision for your big day. Just keep in mind the positive aspects when deciding if you should see each other before tradition tells you to.
Check out some of our favorite P.S. Weddings first looks!